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What's in your box?

You were born with a box.

For many, many years you sat on it. You weren't even aware it was there. It was part of the built-in furniture of your world. Maybe it helped you rest, or gain perspective. It was with you constantly. That was just your way. 

Then one day, walking along you tripped and fell. Looked back realized you had stumbled over this... box. 

What is that thing?

That thing, that box, whatever it was and whatever was in it, was no longer your way. It wasin your way. Suddenly you realized it had always been there, and you hadn't even known it. How could that be? It became important to learn as much as you could about it.

What’s in the box?

You knew if you could figure out what was in the box, you could fix it, or empty it, or solve it, or eat it or give it away. You had to know. 

First you took your own guesses. Then you got help. Wise persons who wrote books or sat and talked with you. Friends, lovers. Professionals. You invested a lot of time and energy in trying to peer into the box. The inside seemed so much bigger than the outside. 

You made some progress. It felt good to know a little bit about what was in the box. It also felt sad. It took a long, long time. You realized just how long it had taken, and how much time you had spent on the box.You began to wonder what knowing what was in the box would bring you.
    
Maybe life wasn’t all about the box. Maybe life wasn’t even all about you.
    
You looked to the left and right and saw others standing there, staring at their boxes, scratching their heads. You caught yourself scratching your own head, as you had been doing for so long.
    
Then you raised your eyes and looked ahead. You saw small figures, small because they were far away, down the road. They had kept walking while you were looking at your box.
    
They weren't sitting on anything And they didn’t seem to be carrying anything.
    
Did they not have boxes of their own to tend to? Did they shrink their boxes and put them in their pockets? Did someone take their boxes away for them? It was impossible to tell. They were so far away.You saw their steps were light. You wanted to be with them.
    
But what about your box?
    
You looked at your box. All the years you had spent with it and it with you. First the time when you didn't even see it. Then the time you tripped over it. Then all that time that you scrutinized it. feeling that its solution would bring so many answers. Could you imagine a life without it? 
    
Yes.
    
And all at once you walked around the box and headed for your friends.
    
You knew the box, your old friend, would be all right. It had weathered so many storms, sat there for so long. It could survive anything. It would be all right.
    
And you. You had weathered so many storms. Stood there for just as long. You would be all right too.
    
As you walked, you glanced over your shoulder and saw the box getting smaller and smaller.Then you looked ahead and saw your friends grow larger and larger. One noticed you and beckoned you to join the group.You didn’t quicken your pace. You just kept walking. You would get there at just the right time.
    
What’s in your box?

How much does it matter?

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Roger SchulmanComment